Tech Notes

Issue 5 and Volume 16.

ICOLD elects vice presidents, forms new committee

The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) announces the election of two new vice presidents. Alberto Marulanda of Colombia and Peter Mulvihill of New Zealand. Both will serve for three years.

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Marulanda is president of Ingetec S.A., one of the largest consulting firms in Latin America. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s work in developing concrete-faced rockfill and roller-compacted-concrete dams. Marulanda also serves as chairman of the ICOLD Committee on Materials for Fill Dams.

Mulvihill is asset manager of hydro facilities for Pioneer Generation Ltd. He is responsible for administration, asset management, and operation of eight small hydro projects that include ten dams and associated hydraulic structures. Mulvihill also is chair of the ICOLD Public Awareness and Education Committee.

Marulanda and Mulvihill join four other ICOLD vice presidents:

  • Maria E. Bartsch, vice president of SwedCOLD, Sweden;
  • Norihisa Matsumoto, adviser with Japan Dam Engineering Center;
  • Edilberto Maurer, chairman, Brazilian Committee on Dams; and
  • Bernard Tardieu, senior hydro advisor with Velcan Energy, France.

Luis Berga, professor of civil engineering at ETS Ingenieros de Caminos, Spain, is ICOLD president.

ICOLD also announces formation of a new technical committee: Committee on Global Climate Change and Dams, Reservoirs and the Associated Water Resources.

The goals of this committee are to:

  • Collect and review the guidance and policies currently used in planning for the effects of global climate change on dams, reservoirs, and associated water resources;
  • Assess the role of dams and reservoirs in adapting to the effects of global climate change, and determine the threat global climate change poses to existing dams and reservoirs;
  • Recommend measures designed to mitigate against or adapt to the effects of global climate change on water storage facilities, in light of predictions of future climate change and possible effects from increased or decreased precipitation, a change in the evapotranspiration rate, erosion and siltation, prolonged drought, and flooding; and
  • Publish a position paper and guidelines on climate change and dams, reservoirs and associated water resources. These documents would be used by ICOLD members, governments, the United Nations, the World Bank, and other organizations.

Ron Lemons, senior vice president of Freese and Nichols Inc. in the United States, is chairman of the new committee, which has 12 members from 12 countries.

– ICOLD is a nongovernmental organization that provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering. The organization leads the profession in ensuring that dams are built safely, efficiently, and economically, and without detrimental effects on the environment. To learn more about ICOLD activities, contact Michel De Vivo, Secretary-General, ICOLD 151, Bd Haussman, Paris 75008 France; (33) 1-40426824; E-mail: secretaire. [email protected]

Alstom Hydro opens Global Technology Center

Alstom Hydro opened a Global Technology Center at its research and development headquarters in Grenoble, France.

Alstom Hydro, a joint venture of Alstom and Bouygues, said the investment in this center will enable it to double its test capacity for hydropower turbines, including pumped-storage units, reducing overall testing time and shortening delivery time.

The company said it extended and modernized its research and development headquarters to meet increased demand for hydropower equipment around the world.

“With hydro being one the major renewable energy sources, the hydroelectric market has been growing over the past years as customers are increasingly looking for clean energy solutions that also allow them to diversify their energy production portfolio,” Alstom Hydro said.

The company said the Global Technology Center is to be the key contact point for sharing research and technology with Alstom Hydro operations in Brazil, Canada, China, India, and Europe.

Book Review: Dam Frankly

The American Film Institute declared “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” to be the most memorable movie quote. Spoken by Rhett Butler (actor Clark Gable) in the 1939 movie “Gone with the Wind,” the line has life today in cartoons protesting the construction of Ilisu Dam in eastern Turkey. I learned this from an illustration in the book Dam.

Trevor Turpin, the book’s author, shares many interesting stories. In a postscript, he colorfully and accurately describes his book by saying that it is “a story about dams” that meanders “like an untamed river through tales of the men and women who designed, promoted, opposed, and built some of the most fantastic structures on earth.”

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In reading any such work today, one is tempted to seek out the leanings – the political proclivities – of the author: what does he/she really think about dams. Mr. Turpin, a visiting lecturer at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, rather successfully avoids taking sides regarding the contemporary politics of dams, and sticks to story telling. He seeks to portray, in an interesting manner, with accuracy and reasonable economy, the stories of a variety of projects.

His scope mainly covers the era of large dam building – from the time of Hoover Dam to today. It is largely anecdotal in that it focuses on a minute fraction of the thousands of projects that could have served as subjects. The book has six chapters. The titles are suggestive of their themes: Dam as Symbol and Function, Dam Designers and Builders, Dam Beauty and Dam Proud, Dam Failure, Dam Angry, and What Environment?

The 256-page softbound book is illustrated with many high-quality historical photographs and illustrations. To order the book for US$27, contact The University of Chicago Press; E-mail: [email protected]; Internet: www.press.uchicago.edu.

– By Carl Vansant, HRW Editor-in-Chief